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PREVIEW: CALGARY VS. EDMONTON

HITMEN HEADLINES: The Calgary Hitmen (20-6-1-2) wrap up a Battle of Alberta home-and-home edition tonight when they host the Edmonton Oil Kings (18-7-2-3) in the TELUS Shake up the ‘Dome game at the Scotiabank Saddledome.  Calgary enters tonight’s contest on a three-game winning streak, following a 5-2 road victory over Edmonton last night.  Zane Jones scored a pair of third period goals to break a 2-2 tie, while Cody Sylvester, Carson Samoridny and Pavlo Padakin also added tallies in the win. Brady Brassart and Brooks Macek both chipped in a pair of assists as the victory vaulted the Hitmen two points ahead of the Oil Kings for the Central Division lead.  At 43 points, Calgary sits first in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Prince Albert Raiders with three games in hand. 

VS. EDMONTON: Tonight is the fifth of six meetings between the Hitmen and Oil Kings, with Calgary leading the season series
4-0-0-0. Brooks Macek tops the Hitmen with three goals and six assists against Edmonton, while Brady Brassart (2g, 5a) follows with seven points over the provincial rivals.  T.J. Foster (6g) and Michael St. Croix (1g, 5a) lead the Oil Kings in scoring against the Hitmen with six points each in the series.  Over the last five seasons, Calgary is 17-11-0-0 against Edmonton, including a 9-4-0-0 record when playing at the ‘Dome.

SERIES RECAP
Sept. 28/12 at EDM: Hitmen 4 Oil Kings 1 … Four different Hitmen scored goals, while Chris Driedger recorded 34 saves.
Oct. 7/12 at CAL: Hitmen 6 Oil Kings 5 OT … A. Roach had two goals and an assist, while S. Humphries tallied the GWG in OT.
Oct. 12/12 at EDM: Hitmen 5 Oil Kings 4 SO … B. Macek (2g) and B. Brassart (2a) posted two-point performances, while G. Chase netted the GWG in the SO.
Dec. 7/12 at EDM: Hitmen 5 Oil Kings 2    Z. Jones scored a pair of third period goals to break a 2-2 tie en route to a 5-2 W.

INSIDE THE SERIES
Shots on Goal: CAL 130  EDM 138  
Power Plays: CAL 2-19 (10.5%)  EDM 6-15 (40.0%)  
Final Meeting: Tue., Dec. 18 at CAL, 7PM

HITMEN TEAM LEADERS:     
Goals (17) Cody Sylvester                   
Assists (23) Brooks Macek               
Points (35) Brooks Macek  
Power Play Goals (9) Cody Sylvester
Plus-Minus (+20) Brady Brassart
PIM (77) Darian Henry              
Wins (16) Chris Driedger

HOME-AND-HOMES: Tonight the Hitmen wrap up a home-and-home set against the Oil Kings, marking the fifth home-and-home series Calgary has played this year. Last season, the Hitmen only played two home-and-home sets, winning all four contests against the Broncos and Ice.  Calgary has won all nine of their games involved in home-and-homes this season and will play two more sets, with the next home-and-home series on Dec. 28-29 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

VAUGHN HONOURS:  Netminder Chris Driedger was named the VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month for November.  Selected by the Ottawa Senators in the third round, 76th overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Driedger posted an 8-1-0-0 record through November with a 1.87 goals-against average and 0.935 save percentage.  The 18-year-old Winnipeg, Manitoba, native allowed just 17 goals on 263 shots-against, while earning a Three Star selection in five of nine games played, including two First Star selections.  Last season, he was named the VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month for January.

TEAM SWEDEN: On Monday, defending gold medallist Sweden announced forward Victor Rask has been named to their 25-player preliminary roster for the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia.  Rask is one of the six returnees this year, joining his fellow 2012 gold medallists Jeremy Boyce-Rotevall, Sebastian Collberg, Filip Forsberg, William Karlsson and Rickard Rakell. He is also one of the six players representing North American teams at the tournament. Rask, forwards Rakell and Nick Sörensen, goalie Oscar Dansk and defencemen Rasmus Bengtsson and Hampus Lindholm, have all been released from their respective clubs to join Team Sweden.  Rask is the lone WHL player representing Sweden.

CAMPUS CHECK-IN: Fourth-year University of Saskatchewan forward Kyle Bortis is the November / December Canada West men’s hockey Husky-WHL Graduate of the Month.  Bortis, a member of the Hitmen from 2007-09, picked up six goals and six assists as Saskatchewan posted a 6-2-0 record.  Having not missed a regular-season game in four years, the Agriculture and Biology student has a career total of 117 points in 100 games, first among active players, accumulating 43 goals and 74 assists.  In 14 playoff games, he has six goals and 14 points.

STREAKIN’: Brooks Macek (1g, 6a), Brady Brassart (6a), Alex Roach (1g, 3a), Pavlo Padakin (3g, 1a) and Zane Jones (2g, 2a) all have points in three straight contests.  Victor Rask (1g, 3a) and Cody Sylvester (1g, 2a) each have points in back-to-back games.

NHL PROSPECTS:  Chris Driedger (Ottawa 2012); Kenton Helgesen (Anaheim 2012); Jaynen Rissling (Washington 2012); Alex Roach (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Los Angeles 2011); Victor Rask (Three-year, Entry-level Contract, Carolina 2011).

POST-GAME AUTOGRAPHS: Meet the entire Hitmen team at the Booster Club table located by section 212 after the game.

UPCOMING GAMES: The Hitmen host the Kamloops Blazers on Tuesday, Dec. 11, before traveling to Red Deer to visit the Rebels the following night.  Single game day tickets are available at all Ticketmaster locations and online at www.ticketmaster.ca.

Tue., Dec. 11 vs. Kamloops Blazers, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN    
Wed., Dec. 12 at Red Deer Rebels, 7 p.m., SN 960 The FAN

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